Accessing Simple Access Database From Anywhere

Hi,

I provided a client with a simple Access database about 2 years ago. (3 days development).

The database was on a local server and accessed by 4 staff.

Now my client wants his staff to be able to maintain the database "anywhere" in the world  via wireless connections.

How can I achieve this?
Perhaps it is more trouble that it is worth - on a tight budget?

Thanks,
Patrick O'DeaAsked:
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Kelvin SparksCommented:
The "simple" solutions are: running it via Terminal Services, Remote Desktop or Citrix. The budget could preclude these though.


Kelvin
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Patrick O'DeaAuthor Commented:
Thanks Kelvin,

Could you perhaps give me a link to investigate you suggestions further?
In particular, are there monthly cost and about how much?

Thanks,
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Kelvin SparksCommented:
If you use RDP (remote desktop), you need a connection that allows remote desktop access - apart from having a licensed copy of windows and Access, there should not be any cost (printing could be an issue depending how you set that up). This just allows the remote user to take over a designated machine remotely.  Terminal Services is similar, but you'll need a service with terminal Services installed (not sure of costs). Again there should not be any on-going costs.

Citrix - well, you have to ask them. Much harder to setup and I don't know what ongoing license fees there is.

I don't have any links for any. I use RDP myself via Small Business Server, but most Windows Server networks will support it.

Kelvin
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Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
I think you should look into a VPN solution.
Could be you already have a VPN server in your router and only need to configure it.

Or, if you have Windows Server, you can enable the RRAS Server: http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles-tutorials/authentication_and_encryption/Configuring-Windows-Server-2008-Remote-Access-SSL-VPN-Server-Part2.html

Regardless of your choice, if you can setup VPN access for your client then he will be able to access the database from anywhere just as from the office.

HTH,
Dan
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
VPN on it's own is not a good choice; you simply can't run Access JET DBs over any type of low end WAN.

As mentioned, you can use terminal services.

Other alternatives:

1. Use Office 365 and change it into a Access 2013 web app.  You'll need to re-write it, but if it's simple, then this may be very easy to do.  Note that web apps don't have VBA, but macros only.  Also, there are no reporting services (you can however do a hybrid app using what you have plus the web app for data entry).

2. Use www.eqldata.com, which let's you put an existing desktop DB onto the web.

Jim.
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Patrick O'DeaAuthor Commented:
Thanks Jim,

I value your input.
Do you have much knowledge of http://www.eqldata.com/ directly?

I.e. is it simply a service you are aware about OR can you actually recommend it??

Thanks again.
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
<<Do you have much knowledge of http://www.eqldata.com/ directly?

I.e. is it simply a service you are aware about OR can you actually recommend it??
>>

 At this point, I would say I could recommend it, but I don't have first hand experience.  But a few here on EE have tried them and posted back with favorable responses.  They reported some minor problems, but no more then if you were getting an app up and running under terminal services for the first time.   They also noted that tech support helped them deal with the issues in their apps (and the issues were app issues, not really with the service itself - things like needing temp tables per user rather then per app).

 They've also been around for at least four or five years now, which says that they are a continuing business.  So they must be doing something right and are no longer in the startup category.  I'd doubt at this point they'd simply disappear overnight.

 Comments so far that I've heard/seen have always been positive.

 They are however a subscription service, so it's an on-going cost.  However for a small number of users and/or someone who doesn't know where they want to end up, it seems like a good choice.

   The biggest pro is the fact that your app basically  runs "as is", which Microsoft really missed the boat with in terms of Access Web DB's and Apps.   In both cases, it's a totally re-write and in many, means a significant loss of functionality as well.

  The biggest con is that it is a service and you are relying on them for your remote access.  They disappear or have problems, so does it.   So how critical your remote access requirements are need to be considered.

I would also kick in that:

1. I am not associated with them in any way.
2. You should go into it with your eyes open.   Ask lots of questions.
3. We'd appreciate any feedback here that you'd care to share if you do decide to try them out.

Jim.
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
Now my client wants his staff to be able to maintain the database "anywhere" in the world  via wireless connections.
...Then as I see it , you are left with eqldata
You can go the VPN/citrix/Remote desktop, ...ect, route, but that  might not really the most reliable thing to do "Wirelessly"

From a simplicity standpoint  http://www.eqldata.com/ is pretty much a drop in solution.

You contact them, give them the db details, then they give you a site to go to and the db functions as if it was on the users desktop. (only through a browser)

In other words, as a new developer, you may not have to do much, if anything at all...
Also note that you need to discuss with them any and all security concerns.  As they may have to provide users with a *secure* log in, and you may also have to create your own security, unique to the db.

Also a small footnote:
<Now my client wants his staff to be able to maintain the database "anywhere" in the world  via wireless connections.">
By "Maintain" are you also planning on doing design changes to the DB "Wirelessly"?
This will get tricky.
eqldata is a way for users to access the database over the web, (edit data)
Making design changes and other development work "Wirelessly", is an entirely separate discussion.

JeffCoachman
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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
<<By "Maintain" are you also planning on doing design changes to the DB "Wirelessly"?
This will get tricky.
eqldata is a way for users to access the database over the web, (edit data)
Making design changes and other development work "Wirelessly", is an entirely separate discussion.
>>

 Excellent point Jeff!

 If design changes are being done by the remote users, then RDP would be it.

Jim.
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Patrick O'DeaAuthor Commented:
Thanks
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